A randomized algorithm for triangulating a simple polygon in linear time

N. M. Amato, M. T. Goodrich, E. A. Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a randomized algorithm for computing the trapezoidal decomposition of a simple polygon. Its expected running time is linear in the size of the polygon. By a well-known and simple linear time reduction, this implies a linear time algorithm for triangulating a simple polygon. Our algorithm is considerably simpler than Chazelle's [3] celebrated optimal deterministic algorithm. The new algorithm can be viewed as a combination of Chazelle's algorithm and of simple nonoptimal randomized algorithms due to Clarkson et al. [6], [7], [9] and to Seidel [20]. As in Chazelle's algorithm, it is indispensable to include a bottom-up preprocessing phase, in addition to the actual top-down construction. An essential new idea is the use of random sampling on subchains of the initial polygonal chain, rather than on individual edges as is normally done.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-265
Number of pages21
JournalDiscrete and Computational Geometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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